With the economy still struggling, here are some ideas to keep the spirit of the holidays without spending too much money.
1) Create a New Family Tradition
There are many ways you can volunteer as a family and get in the holiday spirit. Volunteering is not only helpful for the institution you’re working with, but it is humbling and teaches lessons to all of us. Try ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, serving food at one of the local shelters, or wrapping gifts for those in need. Make your choice as a family so everyone is involved and has fun spreading the joys of the holidays.
2) Thanksgiving Dinner
If you are cooking, make your list early. Watch the local grocery ads and shop as items go on sale. Also encourage guests to bring a dish and don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you need (i.e.: green beans, rolls, dessert, etc.). If you decide not to cook, consider purchasing a pre-cooked Thanksgiving dinner available at some supermarkets. You can order ahead of time, pick up and re-heat. Prices vary depending on the specific food you order, number of servings, and the supermarket.
3) Christmas Tree Ideas
Purchasing a tree can be pricey. Get a permit from the local forestry service and cut your own. Make a day of it. Pack a picnic, some hot chocolate, and don’t forget to bring your camera to document all the family fun! Also plan ahead and be ready to purchase an nice artificial tree on sale during or after the holidays. You may be able to get them for as much as 75% off.
4) Holiday Cards
With the high price of stamps these days, you may what to narrow down your holiday card list. Hand deliver your cards or even send them by email. Sites like Hallmark.com, AmericanGreetings.com, and BlueMountain.com allow you to send e-greetings at no cost.
5) Gift Exchange
Don’t feel like you need to buy everyone a gift. Try having your family and friends draw names so each person is responsible for only one gift. You may want to place a spending limit on gifts or even create a theme. One year, some friends of mine did an “As seen on TV” exchange where all the gifts had to be purchased from that specific store, making it economical and fun. You can even do a handmade gift exchange where each person makes something for another.
Whichever you choose, have fun, enjoy your family and create lasting experiences and memories.
~ Savvy Saver Girl